New York

03 September 2019

Secretary- General's message to Bridge for Cities 4.0 Event

[Delivered by Mr. Kai Bethke, Director of External Relations, United Nations Industrial Development Organization]

I am pleased to greet BRIDGE for Cities 4.0. 
 
With 55 per cent of the global population living in urban settings, cities are at the heart of our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Well-planned and managed cities can steer us towards inclusive growth and sustainable, low-emission development. 
 
At the same time, rapid and unplanned urbanization can generate or exacerbate severe problems, such as pollution, inequality, disease, vulnerability to disasters and a lack of affordable housing. 
 
Strong partnerships, innovative ideas and new technologies will be essential to overcoming these challenges, especially at a time when the Fourth Industrial Revolution is reshaping our world.
 
The United Nations is strongly committed to supporting cities in their efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our specialized agencies are working to foster dialogue among cities and connect them with key partners from different industrial sectors and technological fields, as well as businesses, academia and civil society. 
 
We must also ensure that cities show leadership in addressing the global climate emergency. 
 
Transport must also shift away from the single-occupancy fossil fuel-powered vehicle. Better public transport is not just climate friendly, but can also help address inequality by improving access to economic and social opportunities.  
 
This summer’s heatwaves are yet another wake-up call.  Climate-compatible buildings and urban greening can be part of the answer to reduce the urban heat island effect. 
 
I invite you to engage with the Climate Action Summit to be held at UN Headquarters in New York on September 23rd. This is an opportunity for cities and all stakeholders to join hands with the scale and ambition that are so urgently needed. 
 
Together, we can chart a path to a sustainable urban future.  In that spirit, I wish you a fruitful meeting.